HC Deb 05 July 1972 vol 840 cc536-8
12. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he is putting forward on an international basis for the cleaning up of big river systems which pollute the seas; and if he will make a statement.

4. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he had at Stockholm to his proposal for a world clean rivers programme.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)

The conference agreed to recommend that Governments should strengthen national controls over land-based sources of marine pollution together with a programme of research and classification. This is in line with my right hon. Friend's present policy for the cleaning up of our rivers and we look forward to co-operating with neighbouring countries in putting it into effect.

Mr. Dalyell

What capital is involved and what time scale?

Mr. Griffiths

So far as this country is concerned, a very substantial increase—more than 50 per cent. in real terms—in cleaning up our rivers. It is £1,300 million over the next five years.

Mr. Rost

While other countries may not have been prepared to give an undertaking to do very much very quickly, may we have an assurance from my hon. Friend that he will continue his excellent work in making sure that this country continues to set a first-class example?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes, Sir. We are particularly well placed to do that, because due to my right hon. Friend's policies we now have a pollution of rivers survey that is the best in the world, we have more experience in mathematical modelling than any other country, we are providing the money, and under the new proposals for water reorganisation we shall be bringing sewerage and water management together.

Sir G. de Freitas

In considering any future proposals, will the Minister consider the Council of Europe charter on pure water which was adopted by about 17 countries four or five years ago?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes, Sir. I think that this country is making good progress in that direction.